Monday, February 13, 2006
Dumbass isn't a strong enough word.
It sounds like the victim was a dumbass too, but that's not the point. There is almost never any excuse for a gun accident. (This is also true of powertool and kitchen accidents, don't mistake my point.) Mechanical malfunctions and odd sequences of events generally fall under the heading of freak accidents. From the reports, that's not what happened here.
The rules of gun safety are:
1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until the moment you are ready to fire.
3. Always know your target and what is beyond it.
If you habitually adhere to all the rules, even a momentary slip of one won't result in a tragedy. If it's pointed in a safe direction, even if you cause the gun to discharge, the result won't be tragic. If your finger stays off the trigger, the gun won't discharge, no matter where it's pointed. If you know your target and what is beyond it, you won't shoot another hunter.
It's just like being behind the wheel. When you're in control of a deadly weapon you are responsible, every minute, for controlling that power. If you take your eyes off the road and mow down a pedestrian, you're a dumbass and criminally irresponsible. If you shoot someone else, you broke all 3 rules.
Normally I'd be a bit more diplomatic, but really. This man is entrusted with national security and he can't even handle himself with a shotgun? No more hunting Dick. (I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the Secret Service offices this week.)
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